Driving Phobia

| In Articles | 28th June 2020

Driving is a serious and a dangerous activity, much common, needed and necessary in our life.

Phobia for driving

Are you too anxious while driving for fear of making an accident or lose control? You probably suffer from amaxophobia or vehophobia, the exaggerated fear of driving. Let's try to understand what the symptoms of this strange phobia are, the possible causes and therapies to get rid of it.

 The fear of driving is a phobic disorder characterized by the discomfort or anxiety of getting behind the wheel or by the stimuli (real or imaginary) connected to this activity. They experience intense feelings that make they scarred. Many drivers, even experts, are afraid to drive, at least in certain situations.

What is amaxophobia?

It is a persistent and abnormal fear of being in a vehicle or driving it. It is a type of driving phobia that affects many people, even if only for short periods, and maybe it happened to you too! Let's see more specifically how it occurs and what remedies can be used to face and overcome amaxophobia.

Typical symptoms of amaxophobia :

  • Catastrophic thoughts
  • Panic, anxiety and terror
  • Dizziness, confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tachycardia(accelerated heart rate)
  • Intense sweating

Other symptoms, however, may be behavioral, such as:

  • Find thousand excuses to not driving
  • Driving excessively cautious
  • Always avoid high-traffic roads


Amaxophobia manifests  in different ways and can be triggered by specific situations, such as:

Fear of driving on your own or in general, in the absence of a specific person at your side. Fear of driving at night, when it is dark or when it is bad weather, on the highway and on high-speed roads. Fear of crossing tunnels and crossing bridges or viaducts, especially if high or long (places from which it would be difficult or impossible to get out in case of need). Fear of being in the midst of excessive traffic or intersections where you may find yourself stuck, trapped or slowed down while driving.

However, the fear of driving can also come from something else. From the fear of causing an accident, of losing control of the car. It is important to remember that at the basis of any anxiety there is an exaggeration of the danger and an underestimation of one's abilities. The sooner we make this phrase "our" and the sooner we get more management of our emotions. The post-traumatic disorder also contributes to driving phobia. Persons who survived from serious car accidents might have flashbacks, memories about their accident as if they were on the verge of an accident.

Lack of experience can also generate insecurity and a panic attack is a likely response in those situations perceived as a danger.

Performance anxiety could also be another cause. For example, it happens that drivers with experience are afraid of being judged while they are driving, perhaps because of a past reproach, during lessons or insults received while driving. All of these may have affected the subject so much that it will reappear later, when you least expect it. Not thinking about the judgment of others is the most sensible thing to do in these cases. That’s why it would be more useful to focus on your actions while driving, when you are on the move and not to think about anything else. In this way your phobia will go away.


Psychotherapy is recommended to cure amaxophobia, as for all phobias,  usually coupled with a psychologist-driving school, but it is necessary to understand well from case to case how serious the problem is.

In fact, it is necessary to understand how deeply this phobia of driving is rooted in the subject, what his level of self-esteem is, what his beliefs and previous  experiences are.

One of the recommended psychotherapy treatments is the exposure therapy, where the subject is gradually brought towards his deepest fears so that he can face them knowing  that he is safe.

For example, you can start driving with a school car, with dual controls  and perhaps on a private road and therefore without  other cars passing by and then gradually begin driving in traffic. This takes considerable time, but it’s worth it.

The therapist will always choose the best path to follow based on the type of patient to manage stress. Now look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself: Is giving in to fear really the right choice? Can't you really do anything to deal with this problem? Drive confidently and be safe!